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From ‘boring’ to ‘craveable’: creating nourishing recipes to delight your customers

Chef Plating

By Katya Baxter, Nutritionist,

“Delight your customers! Don’t kill them,” pleaded Chef Graham Kerr , the former producer and star of the Galloping Gourmet television show, when he spoke to the culinary students at the American Culinary Federation National Conference in August.

As I listened to the Chef Kerr’s passionate presentation, I realized once again how much the culinary profession has evolved. The traditionally lavish, rich delicacies are no longer viewed as the goal by many. On the contrary, they often represent a threat to our health and well-being. So how do we reconcile the long culinary tradition of richness and oftentimes excess with the rapidly evolving need to keep ourselves and our society healthy?

As a nutritionist and someone who has been working with professional chefs, I would not be afraid to admit that the task is not an easy one. Just like one chef once said to me: ‘You have to sell me on this health concept, otherwise, I might not be interested.” And he is absolutely right – his task is to create a masterpiece of taste, not necessarily a perfectly nutritious meal.

Unfortunately, ‘healthy eating’ and ‘healthy cooking’ have become commonly  associated with dull, boring and tasteless dishes. No wonder it is difficult to get chefs  excited about it. But what about moving away from the lingo and simply inviting chefs to  create dishes that are ‘nourishing’ and ‘craveable’, – dishes that would leave us filled with a mouth full of flavor and a body full of energy?

Traditionally, nourishment and regeneration were one of the main purposes of food and eating. This concept has been around for centuries and it seems the key to getting it back lies largely with quality of ingredients and reasonable portions.

When it comes to creating a ‘nourishing’ menu, consider this:

Foods that are mechanically manufactured, processed, or commonly known as ‘health foods’


Wholesome, minimally processed, and organic whenever possible.

After the ingredients are carefully selected, we can look at portion size. As a society, we are eating more and moving less, so portion size matters when creating a ‘nourishing’ menu. To create a more substantial plate while cutting down on calories and size consider reducing your animal protein and saturated fat while increasing the fiber, color, texture and flavor with vegetables, legumes, whole grains, etc. Also, using smaller plates create an appearance of larger portions.

When we try to reconcile the tradition of the culinary trade with health and wellness, we need to move away from looking at food as scientists but rather approach it as a part of our organic world, something that provides us with energy, life, and vitality. After all, food is not a threat. Rather, it is there to delight us.

I will be exploring this topic in greater detail in following articles. In the meantime, you can start with testing the nutritional content of your recipes and menus by using MenuMax . MenuMax’s dynamic recipe management system is the springboard for creating nutritionally balanced yet profitable recipes. Sign up for a free 14-day trial to see how your menu can nourish and delight your customers.

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